Writer: Tom Nieboer
Director: Davey Kelleher
Reviewer: Saoirse Anton
Zelle De Brulle is different, she knows that, and for the most part, she is happy as she is. She contentedly catches and studies her insects, follows in the footsteps of her eccentric uncle William Charles Bugboy De Brulle, and is rarely ever noticed by her Oxborough schoolmates. However, one evening, upon catching a glow-worm in the Oxborough gardens, Zelle is reminded of a part of herself that she had forgotten or pushed away, opening a new realm of discovery to her.
In the charming setting of William Charles Bugboy De Brulle’s laboratory (brilliantly created under production designer Hanna Bowe) the three actors, Julie Maguire, Conor O’Riordan and Maria Guiver, adeptly bring a host of vibrant characters to life as they try to understand why Zelle does not put the Glow-worm in “the killing jar” and pin it to her corkboard like all of her other specimens. As they do so, the audience is guided through Zelle’s experiences of growing up in a reserved Victorian household, her friendship with her uncle, her solitary schooldays, a bizarre encounter in an elderflower thicket, and the other joys and difficulties she found in growing up.
Through a miscellany of music, puppetry and storytelling, this delightful piece is perfectly paced and well-rounded. Kelleher’s sharp, insightful direction provides a balance between sweetness and satire that places this as a family show, neither just for adultsnor just for children. Also deserving of praise is Dylan Tonge Jones’ composition and sound design, which he performs live during the show. It is not just music, it is a whole other layer to the story-telling – every quick musical reaction conveying as much information and emotion as a whole other character could.
Glowworm is a charming, multi-faceted production that blends insightful storytelling with beautiful design to create a true theatrical delight.
Runs as part of the Tiger Dublin Fringe Festival until 17 September | Image: Christopher Lindhorst